Hi, I work at a veterinary hospital and we love pitbulls, I have never owned one but after 4 years working with dogs I have only met 1 that I thought was mean. I want to know normal peoples honest opinion on pitbulls.
My wife and her parents grew up with them. I know many.
They are loving, family safe pets when properly raised and socialized.
There are people who choose not to do this for personal reasons. A woodchipper should be their reward…
When I see a pitbull, there’s no way to know if it’s that one. That goes for all big dogs of the guard type. They’re big enough to do some real damage to me if they want. I’d rather not have to encounter them.
My only experience with a pitbull was very bad. A good friend of mine owned a pure-bred pitbull. He and his wife trained it to be very social. For eight years it was a family member. The kids played with it. The dog was always around when I visited. A smart, friendly, easy going canine!
The grand-baby liked to wrestle with it and drooled all over it. No problem. Then one day, while grandpa (my friend) was sitting on the sofa watching the playing child, out of the blue, the pitbull attacked the baby! As anyone would, my friend grabbed the baby to get it away from the pitbull.
The dog dropped the baby and turned its aggressiveness toward my friend. The powerful jaws drove teeth deep into his arms, then the dog shook him, tearing flesh and shattering bones! Meanwhile, grandma, cradling the baby in her arms, ran outside, got into the car, and called 911. After 15 to 20 minutes, the police and Animal Control arrived. This entire time grandpa was in a wrestling match -/tug-of-war with this family pet - turned snarling beast!
Animal Control got the dog sedated enough that the pitbull released my friend. The baby was scared, but had few physical marks on its body. Both the baby and grandpa were taken to the hospital. The pitbull was taken to the animal shelter for observation.
Grandpa got plates and screws in his arms as well as numerous stitches! The baby was released after the doctors looked it over. Minor scratches were the extent of the injuries. The “friendly” pitbull never calmed down and had to be put down!
A necropsy (an autopsy for dogs) was preformed. The results, as reported to my friend, stated that the dogs brain had grown faster then its skull. This caused a great amount of pressure to build up on the brain itself. The Veterinarian was very surprised that the dog had not gone insane from the pain much earlier. The Vet said that this condition is common in pure-bred pitbulls.
As can be imagined, my friend is not a big proponent of the pitbull bread for a family pet. He is just glad that the baby was not harmed by the ferocious attack.
From this experience, I concur with grandpa, a pure-bred pitbull should not be considered as an option for a family pet. Now a mixed-bread pitbull MAY be OK, but I would not put my children and grandchildren in this kind of preventible danger. There are way too many “good” dog breads out there to choose from.
Well, in the interest of fighting ignorance, pit bulls (it’s two words) are neither big dogs nor guard-type dogs. They are considered medium-sized dogs (the American Pit Bull Terrier breed standard is 25-50 pounds for females) and they have a reputation for liking human strangers too much to be good guard dogs. Generally they also lack strong territorial instinct (it’s been said that a pit bull defends only the ground under his four paws).
So whatever it is you’re afraid of doesn’t map very well to what pit bulls actually are.
Your friend flat-out lied to you. No veterinarian worth a damn would have said anything like that. While there is a rare genetic disease (syringomyelia) that can cause a dog’s brain to swell, it causes weakness and paralysis, not the urge to attack. It is sometimes associated with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, not pit bulls.
People repeating the scary myth that “pit bull brains outgrow their skulls” don’t seem to be aware that the same tall tale was told about Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Chows in the past. What those breeds have in common is they’ve all been demonized by fearful people.
Here’s one cite.
I voted for vicious.
I don’t like or trust dogs anyway and the bigger they are the more risk they pose if (and when) they do go bad.
They can kill, they do kill. Reason enough to be wary of them.
If I were able to I’d bring in laws that require muzzling for all dogs in public areas and compulsory licensing and insurance for dogs owners.
I don’t think they necessarily are vicious.
Perhaps more like, ‘the easiest dog to weaponize’, would be more accurate. Not the only one, just the easiest.
It’s not very reassuring to see weeping pit bull owners, swearing the dog has always been a loving and kind family pet, right after it mauls the neighbours child. If it’s so quixotic that you, the person who knows it best, are startled by it’s sudden violent behaviour, perhaps it shouldn’t be on the list of potential family pets. And perhaps you shouldn’t be entitled to possibly endanger an entire community. Any more than you can keep a lion or tiger next door.
I’m in favour of requiring owners to carry hefty insurance, just in case it hurts someone someday. Have the animal, if you wish, but be prepared to foot the bill if mayhem ensues, or people get hurt.
Put one in the back yard with another dog and see what happens. Let one loose around cows or horses and see what happens.
A family member had one for a short period of time, and it was very affectionate and playful. It was also incredibly strong, had a huge head and jaws, and probably could have bitten through a tree trunk. It just seemed too dangerous to be a family pet, when there are so many breeds that are just as sweet and you can dropkick if they turn on you. It is like Roy with the tiger, it was only mad at him for a few seconds and that was enough.
Multiple and “other” options should have been included. And defining “pit bull” - it can mean any mixed breed medium to slightly largish mongrel with a strong build and a large head or a member of one or two specific breeds.
Dogs are individuals and some, especially some of mixed or unknown lineage who have medium to slightly bigger strong builds and large heads, are the result of breeding by dispreputable individuals looking to create aggressive animals. Those dogs, referred to as “pits” no matter what their actual background, also often tend to owned and/or raised by people who either are wanting an aggressive dog or who are ill-equipped to train a dog let alone any powerful one, be it a pit-type or a Husky. Not a good combination. Hence the very rare serious dog attack is going to over-represented in that type.
You work at a vet hospital so you must know that the breeders and the early socialization and the owners all contribute to the temperment of any animal. The risk of a pit-like dog having been had bad strikes on one or more than one of those is perhaps higher than some other dogs, and the risk of what happens as a result of that is greater as well, but the absolute risk is still extremely small.
Isn’t there still a never-dying thread in The Pit that has regurgitated these points a few thousand times? (With posters more tenacious than any dog’s grip is on any chew toy.)
I don’t know what to think. And for that reason I avoid any pit bull-looking dog and will never own one. Sure, I might be wrong, but erring on the side of caution isn’t a bad thing.
I’ve no idea if any individual dog is vicious or not and blah-blah-anecdotes. My understanding is that, physiologically, pit bulls have the capacity to inflict outsized amounts of damage compared to many other dogs. I can’t say I’m especially keen on them or would shed any tears if they went away but, on the other hand, I spend about zero seconds a week thinking about them aside from threads like this.
This is mostly untrue. They are as physiologically dangerous as any similarly sized dog.
Pitbulls, as a breed, are prone to viciousness, without a doubt
However, they are more often than not wonderful family dogs
The owner certain helps determine the temperment (especially the vicious ones)
But there are so many factors that I voted “It depends on the individual.”
As others have said, they may be lovely dogs, but there are many other breeds which are also lovely dogs. If you’re childless and want to own a pitbull, good for you, but I’ll wonder what it is about you that you chose this particular breed. If you have babies / toddlers and a pitbull, I question the balance between your head and your heart.
Yeah, I spent a few years working in a primary care practice near the projects–the majority of our dog patients were pitties owned by guys who filled out the occupation line on their client paperwork with “home bizniss” and always paid in cash, usually twenties. They were generally badly bred, and poorly raised. There was one that was a holy terror, but all the rest of them were wonderful dogs. I would have taken any of them home with me in a heartbeat.
I grew up with pitbulls. I loved them. But we lost one of our young famil members to a pitbull. So, many people look at that. I never understood it. I mean, all kinds of animals kill people, but all a person really hears about are pit bulls. I love them, and they are fantastic protectors, at least if you train them right.
I had a Brittany spaniel 7 years old when this same thing happened. Loving pet for the fist 6 years then his personality started changing. He attacked me twice and I had him put down Vet suggested this was the problem although we had no autopsy.
Can I pick the last two options?
Just like people, how you raise them affects their personality, but so does their individual genetic disposition.
People who think pit bulls (or any kind of dog, really) have a special proclivity towards violence haven’t met many dogs. Just like people, some of them are evil from the get-go, and some are wonderful and then snap. But most do not ever do that, and it’s pretty much impossible to predict ahead of time, especially when you’re only judging them based on a few superficial traits.
As a type, I think they should be culled. Compared to other dogs, when they do attack, they do far more damage on average than other breeds. (Rotties are up there too on the danger scale given their powerful jaws & tons of bad people breeding the worst characteristics into them as well. Which is sad, because I personally have never met a mean Rottie unlike pits. Wolf hybrids are also a similar problem. I’ve never had problems w/ GSDs or Dobies either back when they were “the most dangerous” breeds.) Pits seem to make good pets because of their cheerful dispositions, but stories abound about pits who’ve been great for years & then suddenly attack family members or friends. There are statistically safer, friendly breeds for family pets.
Go to a responsible breeder & support those who really do care about a dog’s physical & mental health. Shelters are full of unwanted pups with questionable histories & inbred dogs “rescued” from puppy mills. The kindest thing for everyone involved is to euthanize them instead of sticking them in a no kill shelter to live out their days in a cage or when someone does adopt them they’ll very likely be spending a fortune in vet bills over the dog’s lifespan.
I also think that most people are so shit-hammeringly stupid & entitlement-minded that their choice to own a dangerous dog trumps that of public safety! I’m sick to death of seeing vicious dog attacks! There are a lot of offenders out there who have multiple strikes & complaints against them but nothing is done until someone gets mauled, while their dog is running loose working its way up the food chain until it finally attacks a person. There are a lot of great dog owners out there who responsibly abide by their local pet codes & they or their dogs/cats get mauled while they’re responsibly walking their pets on a leash. Or a dog at large makes its way into someone else’s yard where their dogs are on a tie-out or fenced in (usually a neighbor’s dog chewing or breaking through) & mauls the pets &/or kids.
There’s a pretty good pitbull documentary out there regarding dog fighting & its repercussions: Out of the Pit.
I used to live in a city 2 hours from Chicago & a lot of those problems hit that town as well due to proximity: dog breeding, fighting & attacks from pits primarily. While dealing with an ongoing problem-dog issue with the neighbor (5 attacks from his pitbull on mine & a relative’s dog over 2 years & the dog was still running loose & killing neighborhood cats also), a neighbor kid a few blocks away was mauled to death by a different pit. The kid didn’t live at that house but was a friend & played over there regularly with the family & their dogs for several years.
The problem in that city is that animals aren’t considered dangerous until they attack a person. Other responsible pet owners be damned. At most they’ll get a $150 ticket for being off-lead -which they don’t enforce! Animal control is left to enforce pet laws & the cops don’t get involved at all, they just call animal control to deal with whatever issues come up. Another whammy is that there is a pro-pitbull activist working at the local shelter who brings in pitbulls from around the country & end up placing dangerous dogs after a very simple temperament test. There is no history on most of their dogs & they just funnel them out to anyone who is willing to adopt them. So the city now has a pitbull problem with dogs running at large & attacking pets & other people now.
I personally have been chased by myself or while walking my dog on a leash by 4 separate pitbulls over the years. 1 was that neighbor’s dog:
3 attacks on my puppy (Fortunately the dog wasn’t able to make it through her thick fur & I was always there to immediately get between the dog & the pup.)
2 attacks while I was walking: 1 charged out from an alley & another charged while his owner bent down to tie his shoe. The dog was walking by his side beforehand, easily. No tugging, pulling or excitement, he just charged. The boyfriend freaked, I yelled at the dog & the dog cornered the bf on top of a car. The owner ran up, grabbed the leash & immediately took the dog away. The whole thing was surreal…
The 3rd attack was by a dog I’d known & played with for a couple years. She broke her chain & charged at me & my dog. I was 14 at the time & my dog fortunately kicked her butt & sent her running back home. (My dog was a lab, husky, samoyed mix. I’ve always had shelter mixes as a kid, but now the shelters are full of pits whenever I stop by to check the place out or drop off items. --I’m tempted to stop doing that so I don’t support these pro-pit shelters. Once in awhile I see a lab mix, but almost always just pits & pit mixes now. My current dog is from a very reputable breeder.) --No damage was done to either dog. A month or so after that, the owner took the dog to a family farm & put it down --only because it had finally threatened his 2 yr old. So the dumbass went out & got another pitbull pup immediately after… /facepalm
The one really nice pit I met when I was younger, was a neighborhood dog who’d been tied out & left by his owner on a 12" chain. He purposely wrapped a larger chain around a pike & padlocked it somehow so the dog only had 12" to move around. He was tied out back by his daughter’s window “as protection”… I went over & fed it & watered it & it was so pitifully grateful. I told my mom what was going on (I was around 12) & the dog disappeared within a week. I really hope it turned out to be a good dog as it got older as well.
No one in this country really needs a protection dog unless they have been working with dogs for 20-30 years or more & likely works with law enforcement & has extensive training in protection work. In the hands of the general public, it’s a liability. They won’t keep your house from being robbed. They’ll likely just buddy up to intruders if they have a good treat, or they’ll get locked in a bathroom instead, maybe use pepper spray too. The occasional bastard might kill the dog if it’s a large, threatening dog should they need to get away. But they’d likely make a mess of your dog with a knife for you to come home to instead of risking a gunshot calling attention to the area.
A “protection dog” is a bad idea in general unless it’s a livestock guardian dog for farmers who actually need to use a dog for its typical purpose: to drive off other predators in the area.
If I see a friendly neighborhood pit, I’ll leave it alone unless it starts behaving in a threatening manner & call animal control. I avoid people who own pits & don’t associate with them so it doesn’t become a future risk to me. In my experience people who own pits aren’t trustworthy or they lack basic common sense (often naive & well-meaning) or they’re very entitlement-minded. Sometimes all 3. & I have moved around a LOT over the years in the US. I see the same types over & over again.